The United℠ Explorer Card is a great credit card for United MileagePlus members and most other frequent flyers. It has benefits galore that make it a standout in a crowded travel rewards card field. Here are some reasons to apply for this card.
The United℠ Explorer Card has a simple miles-earning structure and is best used for getting free United flights. By using your United℠ Explorer Card in connection to all things United, you'll reap the most rewards. Cardholders get a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent with United and a free first checked bag for you and a traveling companion.
Valuable miles-earning potential
Do you like to rack up miles? Use your United card on United purchases, restaurants and hotels and you'll get 2 miles per $1 spent. The card does come with an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95 — but if you stick with United, you'll more than make up for it in no time at all.
» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained
Free checked bags
When flying United, the United℠ Explorer Card grants you and your companion one free checked bag per trip. This is a great perk for those who pack, then overpack, then overpack again. United's checked bag fees vary by destination and fare class. However, the first checked bag on a domestic flight clocks in at $30.
Checked bag charges can quickly add up, especially if you're the type of person who can't resist packing just one more pair of shoes. Simply use the United℠ Explorer Card, add your frequent flyer number to your reservation and you can rest easy knowing that your first checked bag is free, every time.
If you have ever had to cancel a trip due to an odd injury or sickness, you'll appreciate the United℠ Explorer Card trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Cardholders can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 total per trip for any fare canceled or ended early because of a qualifying reason, like an illness.
The United℠ Explorer Card also has you covered if you end up suffering through excessive delays. If a flight is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, the United℠ Explorer Card provides a credit of up to $500 per ticket to cover your hotel stay and food.
» Learn more: United Airlines MileagePlus program: The complete guide
Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit
As a frequent flyer, you likely already know how smart it is to have Global Entry or TSA Precheck. All it takes is one time standing in a long, winding security line at the airport to have Precheck envy. The catch with both of these programs is that they cost $100 and $85 to apply for, respectively. Here's the good news: The United℠ Explorer Card takes care of those charges for you. Cardholders qualify for a credit every four years.
When signing up for Global Entry or Precheck, use your United℠ Explorer Card to pay the application fee and you'll be granted a statement credit up to $100. Keep in mind, you can choose between $100 credit towards Global Entry or $85 toward the Precheck application fee, not both. However, approval for Global Entry gets you automatically approved for TSA Precheck.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best airline credit card for you Benefits of United Airlines credit cards Credit cards with TSA Precheck or Global Entry credits